The suspect was 13 years old in 1992 when, prosecutors say, she shot and killed a 12-year-old girl. New Jersey prosecutors announced an arrest in the cold case this week: a 40-year-old woman in North Carolina.
“In the early morning hours of May 2, 1992, Quiana Dees was discovered unconscious and clinging to life in a vacant wooded lot on Washington Avenue in Neptune Township. The 7th grade girl had left her Asbury Park apartment the previous evening. She was found suffering from a head wound later determined to be caused by a gunshot,” the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release Thursday.
The Asbury Park Press called the crime one of the area’s “most baffling mysteries.” The county prosecutors would not name the suspect because she was a minor at the time of the crime, the newspaper reports.
“Due to the requirements of confidentiality in all juvenile proceedings, the defendant’s name and other details regarding the case are prohibited from disclosure and cannot be released,” the prosecutor said in a press release, noting that a juvenile court will handle the case that has a maximum punishment of four years in prison.
“Those laws prevent the case from being tried in adult court with potentially harsher penalties,” reports WPIX.
In a separate story the newspaper quoted sources close to the investigation identifying former Asbury Park resident Kishia Jones as the suspect.
“Jones, now 40 and living in Henderson, North Carolina, will be extradited to New Jersey to face charges,” according to the newspaper.
Vance County, North Carolina jail authorities told NJ.com “that they were holding someone by that name, but said they couldn’t confirm the charges or if she was being held on a complaint from New Jersey.”
This is not the first time Jones’s name came up in the investigation, The Asbury Park Press reports. “In 2008, the Asbury Park Press interviewed Jones, who was 13 at the time of Dees’ death. Jones told the Press that she falsely confessed to the crime but only under pressure from police. ‘I told them I did it because they kept saying I did it,’ Jones told the Press.”
“The cops have ruined my life. They’ve made everybody think I did it,” she told the newspaper a decade ago.
The prosecutor’s office said in a press release that the suspect is still in custody in North Carolina awaiting extradition to face the aggravated manslaughter charge.